A former homeless man’s sketches of his dog George are commanding rising prices in a London gallery and have earned him a show in Los Angeles.

From the age of 10 to 38, John Dolan’s life was a rollercoaster ride of abuse, delinquency, neglect, poverty, petty crimes, prison, and homelessness, culminating in a downward spiral addiction to heroin. All that changed, however, when a homeless woman gave him a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy called George.

The responsibility that came with taking care of George initially terrified Dolan. But reminded of happy memories of a childhood dog, he soon warmed up to George. “He was quite an aggressive dog and he would growl at you. He was also a cat chaser and weary of people. But within a month after I started training him, his personality began to change,” Dolan said. “He became a really pleasant dog.”

As George changed his behaviour, so did Dolan, who began turning his life around so he could provide for his furry friend. One of the first things he did was to give up crime. Dolan reasoned that if he went back to prison he would have to give up George and that was simply out of the question.

Artist and muse: John Dolan broke away from a life of crime and drugs in order to provide for his dog George, by churning out sketches at his favourite spot in Shoreditch and selling them to passers-by. After three years, Dolan is now building a name for himself in the London arts scene, and sees his works selling upwards of RM16,000.